To Sleep Perchance to Dream: PTSI, Sleep Disturbances, and the Impact on Officer Safety and Wellness

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Lack of sleep poses significant health risks to an officer's wellbeing and job performance. Disrupted sleep is a symptom of, and exacerbates posttraumatic stress injury. Poor sleep impairs cognitive functioning and heightens emotional reactivity, leading to errors in judgment and poor decision-making in the field. When reaction time is increased, officer safety is jeopardized. This presentation addresses underlying issues inhibiting good sleep and offers practical, real-world strategies and activities to improve an officer's quality of sleep. Specific actions to improve pre-sleep routines, guidelines for organizing one's sleep space to promote more restful sleep, and means for coping with nightmares and disruptive dreams are detailed. The use of medications and other sleep aids will be discussed.

  • Detail activities that promote good sleep hygiene.
  • Organize their sleep space to improve sleep quality.
  • Identify and apply tools to reduce the impact of disruptive dreams and nightmares.

Kathryn Hamel, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Hecht Trauma Institute

Dr. Kathryn Hamel, Ph.D., is the Chief Executive Officer of The Hecht Trauma Institute.

Dr. Hamel served our communities for 25 years as a law-enforcement professional for two mid-size Police Departments. During her career in Law Enforcement, she obtained experience in personnel, training, homeland security, criminal investigations, leadership and management, ultimately earning the rank of Lieutenant. During her time spent as a detective, Dr. Hamel investigated hundreds of cases involving rape, domestic assault, child sexual abuse and other forms of violence. Her caseload enabled her to assist victims of these traumatic events navigate the criminal justice system while seeking justice on their behalf.

Preparing for a post-Law Enforcement career, she earned a doctorate in Public Safety Leadership from Capella University, and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Chapman University.

Transitioning from law enforcement to academia, she assumed a leadership role at a University. In this capacity, she served as the Dean of the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology and later as the Senior Vice-President of Human Resources and Organizational Development.

A committed community volunteer, she has almost three decades of experience in guiding non-profit and charitable organizations, and is currently a Board Member of KinderVision, a nonprofit co-founded by her late mother, Ashby Sebastian.

As the current Chief Executive Officer of the Hecht Trauma Institute, she continues to mentor and empower her staff, as she enhances and enriches its Servant Leadership culture.

Kevin Connors, MS, LMFT

Senior Vice-President, Program Development

Hecht Trauma Institute

Kevin J. Connors, MS, MFT is the Senior Vice President for Program Development at the Hecht Trauma Institute in Costa Mesa, California creating trainings for clinicians, first responders, and others treating interpersonal trauma. Kevin is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Long Beach, California, specializing in treating: dissociative disorders and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Kevin is a frequent national and international presenter on complex trauma and dissociative disorders. He is co-author of Treating Complex Trauma and Dissociation: A practical guide to navigating therapeutic challenges.

Kevin is a Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence. He is a Fellow and Past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Institute on Violence, Abuse, & Trauma’s International Summit Planning Committee’s Adult Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment Track.

Kelli Ellis

Founder - Designer

Kelli Ellis Designs


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